This section helps you to plan your weekly marketing plan for your band's release. Ideally, you will develop a plan to market your band on a regular basis during on-release and off-release periods.
Be sure that you've already read the sections Tune Your Online Presence and Kickstart Your Fan Network. You will also need to assemble a list of your planned marketing assets, release dates, and any marketing partner dates (e.g., your date for a MySpace listening party).
Best Practice Walkthrough
Before we discuss the specifics of a weekly marketing routine, let's take a step back and review some of the main concepts here. First of all: why do you need a weekly marketing routine?
As we've seen in previous tutorials, there are several factors which will directly influence your direct-to-fan sales:
Your monthly unique vistors to your web page
The size of your email list
The size of your audience on third-party sites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.)
By establishing an effective and regular marketing routine, you can improve the quantity and quality of engagement on all of these channels. This is your goal!
Bear in mind that the concept of a "regular marketing routine" is quite apart from a highly-targeted, specific marketing message that serves a specific promotion. In the next section, Plan Goal Based Promotions, we'll talk about tailoring marketing campaigns to reach specific goals. A "regular marketing routine" is the baseline communications that you maintain with your fanbase in order to maintain quality engagement. It is often highly programmatic. You can even use some tools to automate these features.
FREQUENCY A good rule of thumb is "do something major on a monthly basis, and do something minor on a weekly basis." For most artists, something major might be a release of a single or remix, a pre-sale announcement, a tour announcement, a contest announcement. Ideally, a major event gives the fan the opportunity to consume content, purchase something, and spread the word to other fans. A minor event might be simpler type of announcement-- something that engages the fan on one or two of those levels (e.g., a funny backstage video, an interesting blog post, or an announcement about a TV appearance).
THE MEDIUM Warning: there are limits to fan engagement. Respect the rules of the media. To name a few:
In this writer's opinion, email should never be used to communicate with fans on a weekly basis. Especially not generalized, untargeted messages. It just burns them out. Use email to communicate your once-a-month major event announcements.
Twitter is a balancing act. It can be used multiple times a day, provided that your content is fascinating. Once a day is perfectly acceptable. Once a week is probably too infrequent to be noticed. Don't use your Twitter channel just for pimping your content. There are good articles out there about writing effectively for Twitter. Seek them out. Try to learn from people with interesting Twitter feeds. Don't DM people or be spammy. Good luck.
Posting to MySpace and Facebook walls is easy and reasonably effective, too. As you're building out your schedule, make sure that you create unique entries for your walls on each platform. Successful marketers make sure that they have unique content for the audiences on each site.
THE METHOD Sit down with a calendar and a list of your marketing assets. Are you planning on doing six singles or remixes this year? Videos? Tour announcements or offline partner deals? All of these things would qualify as major announcements, and it's appropriate for you to start marking these dates on a calendar.
Minor announcements can be ad-hoc. No need to plan these at a granular level, but they can follow a general theme that supports the major announcements. If you're doing a tour blast, ticket presale, and backstage meet-and-greet contest in July (this is your major announcement), then you should endeavor to find someone to write and release tour-related videos, photos, blog posts, tweets, etc. during the month of July. Don't wait until the band is on the bus. Know that you're going to be doing at least one post a week during July that supports your major announcement, and plan accordingly.
Managing all of these communcation threads can be difficult. We recommend that you sign up for a service like Hootsuite, which allows you to manage your posts to various services (including Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace) from one place. You can write one post and distribute it to multiple locations, or tailor your message accordingly. One of the most powerful features is the ability to schedule the posting of a message. If you have built out a calendar in advance, you can post to Twitter while you sleep.
RESULTS If you respect your email list, and tailor your messages to the medium, you will prevent unnecessary email list attrition. If you create relevant posts to Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, you will increase your direct web traffic and even encourage viral activity surrounding your content. Routine marketing provides an underlying structure to your promotional activity. In the next section, we'll discuss building meta-campaigns around specific goals.